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Snippets from the latest issue of Fanfare. These are the best-reviewed discs for November/December, in the order in which they appear in the magazine.

Liszt: Piano sonata; Fantasy and fugue on “Ad nos, ad salutarem”. Garrick Ohlsson (p). Bridge 9337

“As skillful as Busoni’s 1897 transcription is, Ad nos is not an easy piece to pull off on the piano. Ohlsson does it brilliantly, using a dynamic palette with huge fortissimos that never sound forced and a pianissimo spectrum of infinite gradation. … This B-Minor Sonata is so unlike any other I can think of, it comes dangerously close to beggaring description. … an interpretation of profound wisdom and almost excruciating beauty” – Patrick Rucker

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The aim of this regular column is to highlight the classical CDs that have been getting great reviews in the major English-language review magazines – Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, International Record Review, American Record Guide, and Fanfare. Given the relative sizes of the five magazines, I’ll be treating the two big bimonthlies ARG and Fanfare separately, and the three monthly UK publications together.

The reviews below appear in the order in which they appear in the print edition of Fanfare.

Alessandro Scarlatti: Nisi Dominus; Salve Regina; etc. soloists; Concerto de’ Cavalieri, Marcello di Lisa. CPO 777 476

“All of these works demonstrate that Scarlatti was a master of vocal music, knowing when to unleash the often tortuous melismatic coloratura and when to hold it back for simplicity” – Bertil van Boer

Bach: Cello suites, played on viola. Helen Callus (va). Analekta 2 9968-9

“Callus’s playing should be considered Exhibit A for anyone with remaining doubts about the viola’s ability to stand alongside the other strings as a viable solo instrument. … This is among the very best of recordings of the suites on any instrument” – Michael Cameron

To The Point – music by Higdon, Rudin, Schuller, Cascarino and Reise. Orchestra 2001, James Freeman and Gunther Schuller. Innova 745

“it is a joy to become acquainted with these new pieces via an ensemble of the quality of Orchestra 2001. … Go buy this CD now. You’ll thank me after you hear it” – David DeBoor Canfield

Marx: Lieder. Angelika Kirchschlager (mez); Anthony Spiri (p). CPO 777 466

“If you have even the slightest interest in late-Romantic vocal music, snap this up. … both singer and pianist seem deeply in love with the music, and both bring it vividly to life” – Henry Fogel

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